Frontier League

Frontier League
Frontier League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1993
No. of teams 12
Country United States
Most recent
Schaumburg Boomers
Official website

The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Midwestern United States. It operates mostly in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is not affiliated with either. The league was formed in 1993, and is the oldest currently running independent league. It is headquartered in Sauget, Illinois. The 2016 season will feature 12 teams in two divisions playing 96 game schedules.[1]

Description and history

Teams in the Frontier League must recruit and sign their own players, who usually are undrafted college players or one-time prospects who have been released by their teams. Frontier League rules limit teams to three "veterans" (those with three or more years of professional experience), two two-year players and seven one-year players (those with at least 150 professional at-bats or 50 innings pitched). The other half of the 24-man roster is confined to rookies. Players cannot be older than 27 as of January 1.

Pay in the Frontier League is minimal. As of the 2013 season, each team has a salary cap of $75,000,[2] and the player salaries range from a minimum of $600 up to $1600 a month. Due to the low pay, players typically live with host families and receive meal money during the season.

The first league champions were the Zanesville Greys. Only six teams have won more than one championship: Springfield in 1996 and 1998, Johnstown in 1995 (as the Steal) and in 2000 (as the Johnnies), Richmond (now Traverse City) in 2001 and 2002, Windy City in 2007 and 2008, the Schaumburg Boomers in 2013 and 2014, and the Evansville Otters in 2006 and 2016. The Florence Freedom (including years as Erie and Johnstown) and the Rockford RiverHawks (including years as Portsmouth and Springfield) are currently tied for the most league championships with each franchise winning three.

On June 20, 2000, Brian Tollberg debuted with the San Diego Padres, becoming the first player from the Frontier League to make it to the Majors. A week later Morgan Burkhart made his debut with the Boston Red Sox.

Although the league does not have any teams located in the same city as Major League teams, it does nonetheless have teams located within the markets of Major League teams. Chicago (Joliet Slammers, Schaumburg Boomers and Windy City ThunderBolts) has three teams and St. Louis (Gateway Grizzlies & River City Rascals) has two teams while Cleveland (Lake Erie Crushers), Cincinnati (Florence Freedom) and Pittsburgh (Washington Wild Things) each have one. The Wild Things in particular have been able to market themselves as a successful alternative to the Pittsburgh Pirates due to the latter franchise's long stretch of losing seasons, which lasted from the Frontier League's founding in 1993 until 2013 when the Pirates finished with a record of 94–68.[3]


Frontier League
Division Team First Season City Stadium Capacity
East Joliet Slammers 2011 Joliet, Illinois Joliet Route 66 Stadium 6,016
Lake Erie Crushers 2009 Avon, Ohio Sprenger Stadium 5,000
Schaumburg Boomers 2012 Schaumburg, Illinois Boomers Stadium 7,365
Traverse City Beach Bums 2006 Traverse City, Michigan Wuerfel Park 4,660
Washington Wild Things 2002 Washington, Pennsylvania Wild Things Park 5,000
Windy City ThunderBolts 1999 Crestwood, Illinois Standard Bank Stadium 3,200
West Evansville Otters 1995 Evansville, Indiana Bosse Field 5,181
Florence Freedom 2003 Florence, Kentucky UC Health Stadium 4,500
Gateway Grizzlies 2001 Sauget, Illinois GCS Ballpark 6,000
Normal CornBelters 2010 Normal, Illinois The Corn Crib 7,000
River City Rascals 1999 O'Fallon, Missouri CarShield Field 5,150
Southern Illinois Miners 2007 Marion, Illinois Rent One Park 7,000

Former teams

Franchise timeline


See also


  1. "FRONTIER LEAGUE ANNOUNCES 2016 SCHEDULE". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  2. Rovell, Darren (2013-07-25), "Outcry Spurs Rascals to Ax Ball Policy",, retrieved 2015-07-12
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